New Year’s Resolutions for Liberal Arts Grads

Ah, it’s that time of year again.  Time to examine your path, set some attainable goals, and get re-motivated to make your life all that it can be.  Here are some recommendations that seem particularly well-suited to liberal arts graduates who are looking for a new job or the next step in their career path, pulled from various areas of the web.  Happy New Year!

1.  Boost Your Web Presence

“Every form of social media gives people a glimpse into your life – including potential employers. Many employers consider your web presence fair game when they consider your application.  Social media is a one-stop shop for employers to learn who you really are. Your activity paints a better picture of you than your custom-tailored resume. Your photos, blog posts, video uploads, tweets, and Likes become a living resume – something that any tech-savvy individual can view. Where can you be found?”

(From JobMonkey.com)

2.  Create Specific Career Goals That Make a Difference in Your Day

“Before you set those New Year’s resolutions, ask yourself: What does ‘getting ahead’ mean for me?  More money?  More autonomy?  A shorter commute?  A longer title?  Good goals are personal, quantifiable and achievable.  Results also need to be measurable; if you make your goals and your company doesn’t recognize you for those achievements, next year’s goal should be to find a new organization who will!”

(From CareerBuilder.com)

3.  Make it Personal

“Take the time to have face-to-face meetings and to get to know the people in your office and in your business. Texting may seem more efficient but it may not be smarter. People do things for people who they know. There is simply no substitute for shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye. The personal touch is powerful, especially in our very impersonal world.”

(From Glassdoor.com)

4.  Go for Quality over Quantity

“You might be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible, figuring that doing so will increase your odds of being called for an interview. But in practice, this usually means that you’ll end up “résumé-blasting” – sending out tons of applications without customizing your résumé and cover letter to the particular openings you’re applying for. Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application you’ve submitted to dozens of other places, and you have a far lower chance of catching their eyes.  Send out fewer applications, and spend time customizing each. Write cover letters that are specific to each job you’re applying for, and ensure that your résumé highlights speak directly to the qualifications being sought. If your application package is identical every time you send it out, that’s a sign that you need to be more targeted in your approach.”

(From U.S. News & World Report)

5.  Attend at Least One Professional Conference

“I swear by these as a great opportunity to meet people, cultivate relationships, and find new opportunities.  It could be a professional conference for your field locally or one of the many conferences hosted by national organizations like the National Urban League, National Alliance of Black School Educators, etc.  If conferences are not in your personal budget, check with your employer to see if they have any professional development dollars that you can spend (psst…most companies do).”

(From I Don’t Do Clubs)

6.  Keep a Running Reading List

“Making and sticking to a reading list of books, articles, blogs, journals, and other publications to read will ensure you stay engaged with your field and your goals.  This could mean working your way through a list of books on a specific skill you want to achieve in 2015, for example, or keeping track of a number of industry-specific blogs.  In addition, job seekers may want to read up on job search tactics, and any professional can benefit from a book on career improvement.”

(From The ExecuSearch Group)

7.  Avoid Rabbit Holes

“If we wish to have a more productive 2015, we can start by putting away our cellphones and closing the internet browser on our work computers. Most text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and social media can wait. This discipline will get us focused on our important tasks and limit tendency towards procrastination.”

(From Lifehack.org)

8.  Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.  It’s easy to get comfy in your day-to-day routine, but it’s important to always challenge yourself.  When you do, more often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.  Embrace being uncomfortable and tell the nervous little voice in [your] head to be quiet.”

(From March Communications)

Posted in Blog, Liberal Arts, Resolutions

A Little Levity

Source:  The Washington Post, 12/7/14

Posted in Liberal Arts

2015 New Graduate Hiring to Increase

NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 report just came out, and the news is good:  Employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2014.

Other notable study discoveries included:

– 25% of employers plan to offer some positions outside the U.S. (3.2% higher than last year).

– The main reasons for the increased hiring are a) business growth and b) anticipated retirements.

– The most sought-after bachelor’s degrees will be from the categories of business, engineering, computer and information sciences, and math and sciences.

– Finance, accounting, and computer science majors will be the most in demand.

Check out the National Association of Colleges and Employers website for more detailed information.
Posted in Entry level jobs, Getting Hired, Hiring Trends

Books to Help Your Liberal Arts Job Search

Need more in-depth advice about your career path? Some of these resources may be just the things you’re looking for:

A Good Match:  Library Career Opportunities for Graduates of Liberal Arts Colleges
By Rebecca A. Watson-Boone   (Paperback, Sept. 2000)

A study analyzing how librarians generally assess their careers, what life and work are really like for LIS professionals, and what made 431 interviewed graduates from liberal arts colleges choose this service-oriented profession.
One possible order source:   http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=2249

Career Errors: Straight Talk about the Steps and Missteps of Career Development
By Frank Burtnett   (Aug. 2014)

A book that examines the career development encounters that people experience across their life-span, then lists 25 things that workers “do wrong” or “don’t do” in pursuit of their career ambitions.
One possible order source:   http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781475807509

Pages From My Life: A Liberal Arts Background for a Fundraising Career
By Joseph Rappaport   (June 2010)

A book emphasizing how a general liberal arts background can be the basis for a successful career in fundraising and development.
One possible order source: http://books.google.com/books?id=T5hmI9eBC4YC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=Pages+From+My+Life:+A+Liberal+Arts+Background+for+a+Fundraising+Career

Job Shadowing: Techniques to Get Maximum Impact from the Experience
By Kyle Richards   (Audio book, Aug. 2014)

Advice on making the most of spending time with a professional in your career field of interest.
One possible order source: http://www.amazon.com/Job-Shadowing-Techniques-Maximum-Experience/dp/B00MJF1OBS/

VO: Tales & Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor
By Harlan Hogan   (Aug. 2014)

Ever wonder what it’s like to earn your living behind a microphone? An industry talent offers advice on voice training, auditioning, gaining experience, negotiating terms and finding work in TV, film, games, websites, and even automated telephone systems.
One possible order source:   http://harlanhogan.com/votalestechniques.shtml

Leadership & the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Arts Education
Edited by J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, Michael A. Genovese, and J.T. Wren   (2009)

A collection of essays by presidents of prominent liberal arts colleges and leading intellectuals who reflect on the meaning of educating individuals for leadership and how it can be accomplished in ways consistent with the missions of liberal arts institutions.
One possible order source:   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leadership-and-the-liberal-arts-j-thomas-wren/1110991762

Career Puzzle: 6 Interlocking Pieces to Land a Job You’ll Love and Get Paid What You’re Worth
By Donald Reinsel   (June 2014)

A guide to thinking of yourself as a business and ensuring that key opportunities are not missed. Focuses on earning potential.
One possible order source:   http://www.wantitall.co.za/Books/Career-Puzzle-6-Interlocking-Pieces-to-Land-a-Job-You-ll-Love-and-Get-Paid-What-You-re-Worth__0991271629

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young—The Graduation Speeches
By Kurt Vonnegut (April 2014)

A collection of speeches given by the author, mostly at commencements.
One possible order source: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/240511/if-this-isnt-nice-what-is-by-kurt-vonnegut

Resumes That Stand Out!
By L. Xavier Cano  (April 2014)

Tips for college students & recent grads for writing a superior resume and securing an interview.
One possible order source: http://www.amazon.com/Resumes-That-Stand-Out-Interview/dp/0692224629/ref=sr_1_25

The 100+ Things I Learned About Self-Employment: BEaWARE! An A-Z Guide
By Karen M. Hopkins   (Kindle edition, June 2, 2014)

An honest accounting of the lessons learned by a small business owner. Seeks to help future potential business owners make an informed decision.
One possible order source:   http://www.amazon.com/100-Things-Learned-About-Self-Employment-ebook/dp/B00KQQQZRK/ref=sr_1_1

Posted in Books, Liberal Arts, Resources

Liberal Arts Pays Off in the Long Run

Liberal Arts Crisis
Source: BestLiberalArtsColleges.org

Posted in Higher Education, Liberal Arts, Salaries

In Support of the Liberal Arts

The summer season has again given our society an influx of new graduates, anxious to make their marks on the world. It has also inspired a number of college presidents to emphasize their support for a liberal arts education as a basis for a successful career and life. When you find yourself questioning your choices, consider these recent gems:

Michael Roth, President, Wesleyan University:

Since the founding of this country, education has been closely tied to individual freedom, and to the ability to think for oneself and to contribute to society by unleashing one’s creative potential. The pace of change has never been faster, and the ability to shape change and seek opportunity has never been more valuable than it is today. If we want to push back against inequality and enhance the vitality of our culture and economy, we need to support greater access to a broad, pragmatic liberal education.

Seamus Carey, President, Transylvania University:

Everyone is questioning the correlation between the liberal arts and a hefty annual salary. However, a survey of employers conducted last year by the Association of American Colleges and Universities showed that 80 percent believed every college student needs “broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences,” regardless of what they majored in. In addition, 93 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.” That, in short, is one of the essential outcomes of a broad-based liberal arts education–to teach students to be critical thinkers, clear communicators and problem-solvers.

Christopher B. Nelson, President, St. John’s College:

In many ways, the students across the nation who are graduating from college at this time of year are just marking an inflection point in the stories of their lives. And if their educations have been sound, they are well aware that commencement means the beginning of struggle–and they are excited about facing it. A strong liberal education, especially, inspires students to value struggle. By grappling with authors and ideas that demand the highest degree of intellectual intensity–and this is especially true in subjects that are difficult and uncongenial–students learn that they stretch themselves more through struggle, whether they win or lose the match. 

See full articles at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-nelson/beginning-the-struggle_b_5488555.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seamus-carey-phd/education-and-innovation-_b_5682646.html, and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-roth/post_7864_b_5522247.html

Posted in Liberal Arts

Energy Rules: The Fastest Growing Companies 2014

Fortune Magazine just released its annual list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, and the results show a major trend toward those providing an energy benefit: a quarter of the companies make their profits drilling, pumping, transporting, servicing, refining, or selling oil or natural gas.

If you’re in the market for a job, give these companies a look. There is a ton of information about each one listed on Fortune’s website, but for now we’ve just listed the top 10 and a little bit of information on each, including a link to their employment page. With growth rates near or over 100% within the last three years, these companies should have plenty of new opportunities opening every week.

1. Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Anaheim, CA.    (Pharmaceuticals)
Last year’s revenue: $891M
http://www.mallinckrodt.com/Careers/

2. HCI Group, Tampa, FL.   (Insurance, P&C (Stock))
Last year’s revenue: $247M
http://thehcigroup.com/careers/

3. On Assignment, Calabasas, CA.   (Temporary Help)
Last year’s revenue: $1,692M
http://onassignment.com/careers-assignment

4. Patrick Industries, Elkhart, IN.   (Construction—Supplies & Fixtures)
Last year’s revenue: $623M
http://www.patrickind.com/careers/

5. Kodiak Oil & Gas, Denver, CO.   (Mining, Crude-Oil Production)
Last year’s revenue: $997M
http://www.kodiakog.com/careers/denver.html

6. United Rentals, Stamford, CT.   (Commercial Leasing)
Last year’s revenue: $5,033M
http://www.unitedrentals.com/en/our-company/careers

7. American Railcar Industries, St. Charles, MO.   (Transportation Equipment)
Last year’s revenue: $738M
http://www.americanrailcar.com/Careers.aspx

8. Ocwen Financial, Atlanta, GA.   (Diversified Financial Services)
Last year’s revenue: $2,183M
http://www.ocwen.com/careers

9. Virtus Investment Partners, Hartford, CT.   (Diversified Financial Services)
Last year’s revenue: $411M
https://www.virtus.com/about-us/careers

10. CalAmp, Oxnard, CA.   (Telecommunications: Wireless)
Last year’s revenue: $236M
http://www.calamp.com/careers

Posted in Career Resources

The Top Workplaces of 2014

This summer The Washington Post printed the first of what it is calling its “inaugural” special report on Top Workplaces. Being a regional newspaper, its focus is on employers in the greater Washington metropolitan area, and it is the result of a survey done of 33,000+ employees.  So if you’re looking to start or move your career to our nation’s capital, you might consider some of these winning companies in three different categories of size:

Small (50-149 employees)
1. Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP   (Law)
2. American Beverage Association   (Professional trade association)
3. JRC Integrated Systems   (Systems engineering)

Medium (150- 499 employees)
1. Applied Predictive Technologies   (Data analytics software)
2. Delta Resources   (Federal support services)
3. CustomInk   (Online custom apparel)

Large (500+ employees)
1. JBG Cos.   (Real estate investment, development & property management)
2. Southern Management Corp.   (Property management)
3. Keller Williams Capital Properties    (Real estate agents and brokers)

If size doesn’t matter to you, you may find these perk categories of “honorable mention” more important in your job search:

For Foodies:

Gensler – Monthly farmers market in the offices
DMI – Annual cooking competition among employees

For Social Butterflies:

Novavax – Massive employee bowling league with lunch every Friday
Torti Gallas and Partners – Ugly sweater contest

For Travel Enthusiasts:

Cvent – Offers employees the opportunity to work 6-8 weeks in the India office per year
WeddingWire and AOC Solutions – Offer unlimited vacation days

For Work-Life Balance:

Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America – Offers back-up elder care
New Editions Consulting – Gives employees $1000 to spend on a “babymoon” before a new baby arrives

For Wellness:

American Psychological Association – Gives random $100 rewards to employees taking the stairs
Aquilent – Offers desk equipped with treadmills

For Finance Mavens:

Comcast and American Chemistry Council – Offer free financial planning assistance
3Pillar Global – Covers 100% of medical, dental and vision plans for employees and their dependents

There is tons more information at The Washington Post website, starting at this link.  Good luck in your Capitol job hunt!

 

Posted in Blog, Career Resources, Getting Hired

Religious Accommodation in the Workplace

As companies become more and more diverse, with employees bringing a mix of multicultural backgrounds into the workplace, courts have found themselves busier with claims of religious discrimination brought by disgruntled employees—complaints increased approximately 41% since 1997. What can you expect from your employer in accommodating your beliefs, and how are businesses protected by the law?

According to The Labor & Employment Report created by Shawe & Rosenthal LLP, “anti-discrimination laws require employers [with more than 15 employees] to provide reasonable accommodation for the religious practices and beliefs of employees, but relieve companies of the obligation if doing so will cause an undue hardship on the business.”

Examples of common accommodations include flexible scheduling (for prayer breaks, eating schedules, etc.), voluntary shift substitutions or swaps for holy days, dietary offerings, and modifications to workplace policies or practices (allowing headdresses or beards, alternative uniforms, etc.).

What is an undue hardship? According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.” To complicate things further, some states have their own laws governing the definition of undue hardship for employers.

These categories still leave quite a bit open to interpretation, but open communication between the employer and employee about expectations seems to be key in forming a successful working relationship. Both parties have a responsibility to attempt to resolve conflicts, and a good faith effort can go a long way.

Posted in Blog, Workplace Trends

Making Liberal Arts Graduates More Employable

David DeLong wrote an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review a couple of months ago, suggesting ways that liberal arts colleges can help their graduates overcome the “skills gap” and make themselves more employable.

His basic premise is this:  Stop spending your energies defending your chosen degree, and instead start supporting the degree with additional basic tools and skills for job-hunting success. He states: “It’s not the value of liberal arts that needs to be debated. It’s how skills acquired with the degree are recognized by students and communicated to employers.”

Easier said than done.  How best do you convince the targeted employer that your degree in Ancient Greek Rhetoric will actually help his company’s bottom line?  Do you even know yourself what skills you have acquired while earning that degree?  Whether its fabulous writing skills, the ability to see and debate all sides of an issue, or a keen sense for solving a dilemma, you need to keep solid track of your skills and be able to show them to an interviewer.

First, though, you have to actually make it to the interview stage of the process.  Your hard work must start much earlier.  DeLong suggests:  “When it comes to improving the employment prospects of college students, the elephant in the room is the difficulty of convincing young adults to fully engage with the activities needed to effectively launch their career. Even students who express angst about future employment seem unwilling to invest sufficient time to master the skills needed for success, such as extensive networking, in-depth industry research, resume writing and interviewing.”

A slew of new May/June graduates has just entered the job market, anxious to nail down that first job.  Do you have the necessary tools to get your foot in the door?  With that in mind, we’ve just added a new “Resources” section to our website to offer some assistance in building your resume, honing interview skills, practicing pre-employment tests, “blasting” your resume to employers, matching your skills to company needs, and assessing your current skill levels.  And if you decide you need a little extra learning to acquire that dream job, we’ve offered some places to find higher education or ways to obtain certification in key areas in the liberal arts.  Some of the resources are professional companies, and some are just links to places that we think might be helpful to you.  It’s still a work in progress, but it’s a start.  And if you think of other categories that would be helpful to liberal arts grads, please do suggest them here or shoot us an email.  Good luck!

 

Posted in Blog, Career Resources, Certifications, Current Jobs for Graduates, Entry level jobs, Getting Hired, Higher Education, Interviewing, Job Matching, Liberal Arts, Pre-Employment Testing, Resumes, Skills Assessment